This has been a tough couple weeks on the running front, full of some big D’s: depressing, disappointing, discouraging…
During Sunday’s run – that finished my knee – I started telling myself reasons why I love running. I narrowed my list down to 5 main ones that really make this sport important to me.
Running does not come easily to me. Some people are just natural runners…. and I am decidedly not one of them. But I think this is part of why I’m drawn to it: I thrive on the challenge. I like to make lists and schedules, track progress and measure improvement, all of which running allows. I can see improvement in the times and distances, and I’m driven by that.
I’ve discovered so much about myself through running. How I handle the physical challenge, how I motivate myself through a long run, how I stick to the challenge set before me. I’ve discovered how strong my body really is – we can really do some amazing things! I’ve also discovered how strong I am mentally. I usually don’t run with music, so it gives me plenty of opportunity for self–reflection and thought.
Through running, I also discover new methods, new tools and new communities. I can’t say enough about the blogging and twitter communities I’m blessed to be a part of. These people are incredible athletes and are so motivating.
I feel most alive when I run regularly. The fresh air, the movement, the chance to unplug… it’s one of the most refreshing things I can do. It helps relieve stress and tension, clear my mind and feel more at peace. I think sometimes only runners can really understand the refreshing and energizing nature of a good run. I love a good HIIT workout, strength training or yoga session, as well… but there really is nothing like a good run on my favorite trail.
Likewise, the freedom I feel on a run is unparalleled. Every once in a while, I just feel like my legs could go forever and carry me wherever I wanted. And even on the days when they feel more like lead – or like nothing due to numbness – I’m still amazed at the strength of my body to just run. There is so much freedom in knowing I have the strength to overcome challenges; in being outside and “one with nature” so to speak; in the time for thought and reflection…. freedom in the “me” time!
If you’ve read this blog at all, you know I struggle with my legs going numb below the knees. You probably also know I had to stop running for 6 weeks this summer, and am dealing with a knee injury right now. It often feels like as soon as I get in a groove and really feel like I”m growing as a runner, something happens to significantly derail my progress.
As frustrating as this is, I have not once been tempted to stop the sport all together. I need to stop for recovery… but I will overcome these challenges and I will grow as a runner. The mental game is just as challenging as the physical, and I’m not giving up on either.